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Safety check by US agents

Officials of US secret service agency meet Fire Dept officials to review disaster response time, want fire engines deployed with President’s convoy.

mumbai Updated: Nov 01, 2010 02:37 IST
Bhavika Jain

Ahead of the US President Barrack Obama's visit, the US Secret Service agents met officers of the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) on Saturday to get a clear picture of the response time of the department.

Five officials from the secret service agency met two senior fire officials and asked them what was the response time of the fire brigade if a fire broke at any of the location that Obama is scheduled to visit during his two-day stay in the city.

His itinerary says that he will stay at Taj Mahal hotel, visit St Xavier's College, a school in Colaba, a visit to Mani Bhavan and also attend a business meet at Trident. “Our machinery can reach all these places in less than five minutes,” said a senior official from the department.

The agents also wanted to know about the fire engines, the kind of machinery that the fire department has. “We have assured them that we will be undertaking a thorough check regarding the fire safety of all the places where Obama is going to visit, "said the official.

The fire brigade team will inspect Mani Bhavan, Taj Mahal Hotel, the Trident and St Xavier’s College. “We will survey these places to check whether all the fire safety norms are in place. If found missing, then the owners of the properties will be asked to make the necessary changes,” said the officer.

The fire brigade officers added that the agents gave out very little and measured information to the questions asked by them. “They said they were ready with their multi-tier security for the President but relied on the Fire Department for any case of fire outbreak,” said the officer.

The department will also check with the BMC to check whether the fire brigade will be able to deploy fire engines along with Obama’s convoy.